Traditional Christmassy Tortellini from a Bolognese granny – How to Make Them from Scratch

Handmade Tortellini from Bologna

Making Tortellini from scratch is more than just preparing a filled pasta to be eaten right away. It’s a way to get closer to your friends or loved ones if you decide to spend a few days together preparing hundred of Tortellini, getting prepared for the Christmas dinner. This is what I did with my expat Italian friends in Copenhagen. Thanks to my nice friend Licia, I got to know the secret recipe of her grandma from Bologna… imagine what that means to me, coming from Puglia! As soon as we found the ingredients in a danish well-assorted grocery store (make sure the ingredients are of good quality: this makes a huge difference at the end), we cleared our diary for two days during which we rolled our sleeves up and prepared tons of Tortellini. Two carefree days filled with lots of laughs and lots of little chats, observing the Covid rules though.

Marinella

🍷 Francesca & Marinella🍴

INGREDIENTS for 6 servings

For the filling:

  • 100 g pork loin
  • 100 g Prosciutto Crudo
  • 100 g Mortadella from Bologna
  • 150 g Parmigiano Reggiano (better if it is aged three years)
  • 1 eggs
  • ground nutmeg, to taste
  • garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves

For the fresh egg pasta:

  • 3 eggs
  • 300 gr flour

METHOD

How to make the filling:

The day-before, in the morning: season the pork loin with garlic, salt and a little pepper (make a few incisions and insert the sliced ​​garlic inside). Cover and leave it for at least 7/8 hours in the fridge.

After that time, slice the pork loin. Put a frying pan (big enough to contain the pork loin in 1 layer) on medium heat. Add two / three knobs of butter in, and let melt it. Then season with two bay leaves, and place the meat in. Cook on both sides for a few minutes. Once cooked, clean up of the aroma and let cool the meat.

Grind finely the meat. Separately, chop the Prosciutto Crudo and the Mortadella. Pour all of them together in a large bowl.

Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, salt, the egg, and the freshly grated nutmeg (do not abound with the nutmeg, its taste might dominates the flavour of the other ingredients). Mix everything working with your hands until you get a soft but compact dough. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, covered with a plastic wrap.

How to make the fresh egg pasta:

Pour the flour on a wooden board, make a well in the centre, and break the eggs into it. Using a fork beat the eggs and gradually incorporate the flour from the sides to the centrum until you get a rough dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 -15 min.

If the dough is too sticky, add some flour on the work surface and knead it. Work the dough until obtaining a silky-smooth ball. Cover it with a damp cloth and let rest for about 30 min.

If you are using an electric mixer: pour the eggs in the Kitchen aid bowl, equipped with the dough hook. Add the flour and mix until the dough just comes together, for about 20 seconds. Remove the dough and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Let it rest at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.

If you roll out the dough by the pasta machine: Cut the dough into 5-6 pieces before processing each piece with a pasta sheet attachment, or with a manual pasta machine.

Take the first piece of dough, dust it lightly with flour and flatten into a rectangular shape, setting the machine at the widest setting (number 1 – My pasta machine goes from number 1 to number 5). Fold the dough in half and run it through the machine again, for three times.

Set the pasta machine at the narrower setting (‌number 2) and proceed as before. Continue to press the dough until the number 3 setting (which is not the thinner). Repeat the same procedure for each piece of dough.

If you roll out the dough by hand: Dust the dough lightly with flour and with a mattarello -rolling pin, roll out the dough in one sheet of about 1 mm thickness (you should be able to see your hand through the sheet – see the picture above).

How to fold the tortellini: Cut the sheet into 4 x 4 cm squares. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each one (see the picture). Fold a corner on the opposite one to form a triangle, and with your thumbs seal the edges well pushing out any air bubbles. Then roll Tortellino around your middle finger, press the two corners very tightly to close it, turning the upper edge outwards (watch the video below).

Lay the Tortellini on a floured tray and let them dry in the air.

If you don’t cook the Tortellini right away, freeze them on a tray and transfer to a freezer-safe container once solid. Tortellini will keep for about 3 months. Cook directly from the freezer, increasing the cooking time by a a few minutes.

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